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9 December 2009

Transport Minister launches hybrid Mobile Travel Centre

Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson yesterday (Tuesday 8 December) launched the new hybrid Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) Mobile Travel Centre at the Scottish Parliament.

The vehicle - owned and operated by SPT - is the first of its kind in the UK and demonstrates the organisation's commitment to leading the way in hybrid bus technology with anticipated 33% fuel savings. Carbon dioxide emissions will also be reduced by at least a third.

Launching the new vehicle, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "I'm delighted to launch this new Mobile travel centre, the first of its kind in the UK. This is a hugely positive initiative, which not only utilises the latest green technology in the bus industry, but also promotes public transport as an alternative to the car to local communities in Glasgow and the west.

"If we are going to achieve our ambitious climate change targets, we need to cut emissions from transport and projects such as this can make an important contribution to these efforts."

Built around a bus chassis, the new £205,000 Mobile Travel Centre is powered by diesel hybrid technology. This means that while it still has a diesel engine, this is only used to charge the electric batteries that drive the vehicle. The batteries are also used to provide power within the vehicle, making electrical appliances such as computers and TVs self-sufficient.

The Mobile Travel Centre is one of SPT's most popular initiatives. It provides people in rural areas with information on local rail and bus services, express and long distance coach services, short stay breaks and local ferry services - helping to Join up Journeys across various transport modes.

David Fagan, Vice Chair of SPT, said: "We're delighted to have the Transport Minister launch our new Mobile Travel Centre at the home of Scottish politics. SPT is proud to lead the way for hybrid bus technology and we hope this will encourage commercial operators to trial this type of vehicle.

"We have worked very hard to ensure the vehicle is as green as possible with optimum fuel efficiency and a minimum carbon footprint. The Mobile Travel Centre is an important means of providing remote and inaccessible communities with access to public transport information, so it's vital that we have the best possible vehicle."

The new vehicle is more adaptable for easier access to remote rural communities, and is low-floored to better suit wheelchair users, those with impaired mobility and prams. It also offers high-speed broadband internet use.

A feasibility study commissioned by SPT has shown that the diesel-hybrid technology used on the Mobile Travel Centre can reduce fuel consumption by up to 33%, carbon dioxide emissions by 33%, nitrogen oxide by 38%, and hydrocarbon by 99%.

The launch of the new vehicle also means that for the first time visitors to the Mobile Travel Centre will be able to purchase SPT tickets on board.

The new Mobile Travel Centre is due to go into service in the new year.

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